Despite passing of two years since the floods wreaked havoc in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to undertake macadamization of 2600 kms of road stretches, which were damaged by September 2014 deluge adding to already shabby roads links which are causing inconvenience to populace.
Senior Roads and Building department officials informed Greater Kashmir that the vast road stretches in Kashmir were already in dilapidated conditions, the floods left further 4,000 Kms dilapidated. Of which only 1400 Kms have been repaired so far while remaining 2600 Kms are yet to be repaired despite passing of two years post-floods.
To add to it, only 33 kms were blacktopped in 2016 with government blaming unrest for failing to undertake construction works in Kashmir.
Minister for Roads and Buildings, A. R Veeri acknowledged that vast portion of damaged roads in 2014 flood are yet to be macadamized. " It is a fact that of 4000 kms road stretch damaged by deluge only 1400 kms have been repaired," he said adding that " We had planned to take up blacktopping of remaining portion of road stretches in 2016, however the situation didn't allow us."
The Minister said that government will take up the macadamization of roads in the coming season.
While 2600 kms of roads are already in bad conditions, the few inches of snowfall in Kashmir over past few days has brought to fore the messy road conditions across Kashmir, even the newly developed roads are in shambles and have developed potholes much to the dismay of the commuters.
Experts blame the "defunct drainage system, ill-planning during construction of roads in Kashmir for causing damage to already macadamized roads".
As per officials, for construction of 1 km of macadamized road link, the government spends upto estimated Rs 30 lakh rupees. However, it has been observed that most of the roads doesn't last more than 2 year after being blacktopped.
The Greater Kashmir spoke to civil engineers and contractors to know the reasons apart from government apathy about the dilapidated conditions of road links despite government claiming of spending huge amount of money on road constructions.
"The main problem which affects the life of roads in Kashmir are defunct drainage system," said Ghulam Muhammad, a retired PWD Engineer.
He said that earlier roads lasted long due to slopes kept in design to allow outflow of water, while now on most roads there is no outflow channels neither are drainage network functional.
Chairman, JK, Contractors Coordination Committee (JKCCC) Ghulam Jeelani Purza blamed water logging for roads getting damaged. "Despite using high and rich quality material our roads get damaged due to water logging because macadamized roads are like carpets if a thread gets damaged it slowly starts damaging other parts as well, same thing happens when water gets logged on any road it starts damaging the bitumen and affects its life," he said.
Purza said further the failure of government to undertake repairs of flood ravaged roads is another reason why our roads are in a mess. " The government has even failed to clear our pending bills of Rs 311 crore for works undertaken to repair 1400 kms of roads damaged by floods."
To this, the Minister R&B, Veeri said that government has already put in clause by virtue of which contractors have to give three years warranty on roads they construct. "If any road link has been damaged within the guaranteed period, the government will ensure that contractor undertakes the repair works as per the contract agreement," he added.